The back half of the fore quarter has the backbone on the upper edge. The best roasting piece is the first cut of the rib, which joins the tip of the sirloin, and is sometimes sold for the tip. The tip has only one thick muscle above the rib, and the bones are usually slanting. One side of the first cut of the rib looks just like the tip; the other side has the beginning of another tough muscle next to the skin, and the bones are straight. There are ten ribs in the fore quarter; three are left in the sirloin. This first cut may be one, two, three, or four ribs; but two are enough to roast for a small family. The shoulder blade begins in the fifth rib, and above this lie what are called the chuck ribs. The meat above the blade is tough, and only suitable for stews. The part underneath is cut into small steaks, and is often offered for sale as sirloin steaks. The shoulder of mutton, just above the fore shin, is good for braising and pie meat.
The rattle rand is divided into three long narrow strips, thick and lean at the upper end, and thin and fat at the lower end, all of which are usually corned. The upper part, called the rattle, is divided into three cuts. The thick upper end is preferred by those who like lean corned beef. The second cut has straight ribs running through it, and three distinct layers of meat with fat, and is considered the choicest piece by those who like "a streak of fat and a streak of lean." The middle strip has a thick layer of fat, and only one layer of lean, and the bones are slanting. This is not a desirable piece. The lower strip is the brisket, the upper end of which is thick; the lower end, toward the middle of the creature, is called the navel end. Brisket pieces always have what is called a selvedge on the lower side, and the breast bones running at right angles with the rib. After a little experience in marketing one may easily distinguish the various cuts of beef. It is well to know what you want, and to know whether you get what you have ordered.
Fig. 23. First Cut of Rib.
Fig. 24. Chuck Rib, with six ribs removed.